Oats have been cultivated for centuries, and in their original form, they contain all the valuable nutrient elements of the grain.
This makes them a nutritious and filling addition to any meal.
Although many varieties of oats are available today, old-fashioned oats remain the most popular for their hearty texture and nutty flavor.
They are great as a breakfast cereal or warm vegetable side dish and versatile enough to be used in baking recipes like cookies or granola bars.
When it comes to finding alternative options for old-fashioned oats, there are many substitutes that provide similar nutritional value and cooking time.
Here’s a list of five worthwhile alternatives that would work well in any recipe calling for old-fashioned oats.
What are Old-Fashioned Oats?
Old-fashioned oats, also known as rolled oats, are grains of oat kernels that have been dehusked, steamed and flattened with a roller.
This process helps them cook faster than the other type of oats – steel-cut oats – which are flakes cut from whole sections of grain groats.
The longer the processed oats sit, the chewier and crunchier their texture becomes.
Thanks to their thick texture after cooking and unique flavor, old-fashioned oats have emerged as one of the most sought-after grains for baking, adding to yogurt for breakfast or thickening some delicious sauces and soups.
How to Cook and Use Old-fashioned Oats?
They are usually thicker than the instant oats so they take longer to cook.
This makes them an excellent choice for morning porridge, granola bars, muesli and other breakfast dishes.
Old-fashioned oats can be cooked on the stovetop, in a slow cooker or even in the microwave to give you a warm and hearty breakfast meal.
For stovetop cooking: bring 1 cup of water (or your choice of milk, coconut milk or nut milk) to a boil then reduce heat, stir in 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
The oatmeal will be thick and creamy when finished.
Old-fashioned oats are also used in many baked goods like muffins, cookies and granola bars as well as savory dishes such as vegetable patties or stuffing recipes.
5 Best Old Fashioned Oats Substitutes You Should Try
1 – Quinoa Flakes
Quinoa flakes are an excellent alternative to old fashioned oats.
Unlike oats, which are processed from grain and contain gluten, quinoa is a naturally gluten-free food.
Quinoa flakes are made from ground quinoa, providing you with all of the same nutrition as quinoa in an easy-to-prepare form.
They can be used in any recipe that calls for old fashioned oats and can also be prepared savory or sweet by adding different mix-ins such as cinnamon and honey or savory herbs and spices.
Quinoa flakes provide essential vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, B6 and zinc along with a complete protein source.
Not to mention they cook significantly faster than oatmeal – just 1 minute in the microwave or 1 minute on the stovetop.
2 – Buckwheat
Buckwheat is a seed often consumed as a grain, but it’s not actually related to wheat.
Though it may not look like oats, buckwheat has a similar texture when cooked and is also high in fiber, protein and minerals.
Simply replace the old fashioned oats with an equal amount of buckwheat or use them together for added texture.
This pseudo-grain needs to be cooked in order to enjoy its flavors and benefits.
Both raw and roasted forms are used in cooking — the latter creates a nuttier flavor while the former adds crunchy bits of texture to oatmeal dishes.
Buckwheat can be ground into flour or used as an alternative for rice in many recipes.
It’s also popular during Passover celebrations as a replacement for grains.
3 – Steel-cut Oats
Steel-cut oats are also known as Irish or Scots oats, and they are created from whole grains of oat groats (hulled grain kernels) that have been cut into smaller pieces by steel blades.
This creates a chewier texture than rolled or quick-cooking oats, and the flavor is nuttier and more robust.
Steel-cut oats do take longer to cook than other types of oats, about 20-30 minutes for most recipes.
They also don’t produce as creamy a texture because the cell walls of the grain tend not to break down as easily.
However, if you enjoy a dish with a coarser texture and chewy bite, they may be just what you’re looking for.
4 – Amaranth
Amaranth is a highly nutritious grain that is native to Peru and other areas of Latin America.
It has been used for centuries as a food source, with some archaeological evidence suggesting it was cultivated as far back as 7,000 BC.
Amaranth can be used as an excellent substitute for old fashioned oats in a variety of recipes.
It’s flavorless but has a slightly nutty taste, so it can be added to hot or cold cereals without altering the flavor profile of your favorite dish.
Amaranth is higher in protein and fiber than oats, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to up their nutritional intake.
It also contains high levels of magnesium and iron, making it beneficial for boosting energy levels throughout the day.
When cooked, amaranth has a light and fluffy texture that’s similar to oats.
It does take longer to cook than rolled oats — approximately 20 minutes compared to 10 minutes — so be sure to keep that in mind when planning your meals.
5 – Millet
Millet ranks among the healthiest of grains and is similar in flavor to quinoa with a slightly sweet nutty taste.
This gluten-free grain is naturally high in magnesium and can lower cholesterol.
It also contains B vitamins, iron, and soluble fiber which helps preserve the integrity of cell membranes and promote healthy digestive function.
Millet can be used as a substitute for old fashioned oats by simple steaming or boiling it until it is soft like oatmeal.
Alternatively, it can be ground up into a flour and used in baked goods such as muffins, cakes, or pancakes.
Old fashioned oats are an oat variety that have been rolled into thick flakes and have a chewy texture.
They are beloved in oatmeal but can also be used as an ingredient in baking recipes.
If you’re out of old fashioned oats, there are several great substitutes you can use instead.
Whole grain steel-cut oats offer the closest texture and flavor to old fashioned oats, so if you want to keep your recipes as close as possible to their original form that’s the go-to substitute.
Rolled quick oats make for a good swap if your recipe doesn’t require too much cooking or stirring, like most no bake desserts.
Ground oat flour is great for thickening sauces and adding moisture to baked goods, while ground flaxseed meal offers both a nutritious boost and gluten-free alternative when mixed with wet ingredients.
Finally, rice krispies make an ideal replacement when making crispy treats or other snacks—just know they may not taste as hearty as the original version.
Whichever substitute you choose, it’s important to understand what qualities your recipe needs from its grains before diving into a swap—now that way you’ll be sure each of your dishes succeeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Old Fashioned Oats?
Old Fashioned Oats are traditional rolled oats, which are oat groats that have been steamed, rolled, and flattened into flakes.
They are thicker and chewier than instant oats, and are a popular ingredient in oatmeal and other breakfast dishes.
What are the best substitutes for Old Fashioned Oats?
The best substitutes for Old Fashioned Oats are steel-cut oats, instant oats, quinoa flakes, barley flakes, and oat bran.
How do I prepare Old Fashioned Oats?
Old Fashioned Oats can be prepared by combining 1 cup of oats with 2 cups of water, and boiling for about 5 minutes.
They can also be cooked in a slow cooker or in the microwave.